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Why BJP faces uphill task of repeating 2017 show in western UP in first phase voting

All opposition parties, including the Samajwadi Party, Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party, have given priority to the issues related to farmers, while the ruling BJP claims that the Yogi Adityanath-led government has done several important works for the development of the region.

PTI Reported by: PTI
New Delhi Updated on: January 13, 2022 20:25 IST
Why BJP faces uphill task of repeating 2017 show in western
Image Source : PTI/FILE

Why BJP faces uphill task of repeating 2017 show in western UP in first phase voting

Highlights

  • Western UP which has seen widespread protests over Centre's now-repealed farm laws will be crucial
  • In 1st phase, polling will be held in 58 assembly seats in Shamli, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, others
  • All opposition parties, SP, Congress and BSP have given priority to the issues related to farmers

The BJP faces an uphill task of repeating its performance of the last assembly election of winning 53 out of 58 constituencies in western Uttar Pradesh where polling will be held in the first phase on February 10. Western Uttar Pradesh which has seen widespread protests over the Centre's now-repealed farm laws will be very crucial for the BJP for achieving the target of winning more than 300 seats out of total 403 again, political analysts say.

In the first phase, polling will be held in 58 assembly seats in Shamli, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Hapur, Gautam Budh Nagar, Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr, Mathura, Agra and Aligarh districts and the notification will be issues on Friday.

On these 58 seats, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party won two seats each in 2017 and the Rashtriya Lok Dal got one seat.

In addition to the farmer agitation, the issues of "exodus" of a community from Kairana, sugarcane price and payment, and the temple of Lord Krishna in Mathura are likely to feature prominently in the campaign by various parties.

All opposition parties, including the Samajwadi Party, Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party, have given priority to the issues related to farmers, while the ruling BJP claims that the Yogi Adityanath-led government has done several important works for the development of the region.

The BJP highlights in its campaign the proposed international airport in Noida, ending migration from Kairana and the development of the region, along with clearing dues of sugarcane farmers.

In the first week of September last, there was a big mahapanchayat of farmers in Muzaffarnagar against the three farm laws. Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait had made the allegation of harassment of farmers by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

After the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar in 2013, challenges had arisen for the Samajwadi Party in this stronghold of western Uttar Pradesh and the BJP benefited in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha and 2017 assembly polls.

Adityanath and top BJP leaders claim that there has not been a single riot in Uttar Pradesh after the BJP government was formed in 2017.

Political commentator Rajiv Ranjan Singh told PTI that this time the election will see a war of words. If rallies and public meetings are not allowed because of the coronavirus pandemic, slogans and statements that will create a stir on the social media will be used.

"Obviously parties will rake up old issues and a terrible round of accusations and counter-accusations will start," he said.

Even before the notification for the first phase, cabinet ministers Swami Prasad Maurya and Dara Singh Chauhan have resigned accusing the BJP government of neglecting Dalits, backward, youth, farmers, unemployed and the underprivileged.

The development has increased enthusiasm of the Samajwadi Party and it claims that in the first phase itself, its cycle will accelerate towards attaining power.

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav said in a tweet that "mela hobe" (there will be unity) against the BJP, terming it oppressive and claimed that it will taste a historic defeat.

SP spokesperson Rajendra Choudhary alleged, "The BJP government imposed the farm laws and withdrew them but more than 700 farmers lost their lives."

"Every farmer will take account of this from the BJP government and from the very first phase, SP's cycle (poll symbol) will increase its speed to form the government and this time SP will get historic support and seats," he said.

Along with enumerating the government's achievements in the region, Chief Minister Adityanath often claims in his meetings that he has freed Kairana from the mafia and the families who fled have returned to their homes. He also counts the payment of sugarcane farmers among the achievements of the government.

The BJP had raised the issue of migration from Kairana in Shamli district under the previous SP regime. In the first phase, polling will also be held in Aligarh, the home district of the late chief minister Kalyan Singh.

After Singh's death, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah CM Adityanath had made their presence felt. Mathura, which is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Krishna, will also go to poll in the first phase.

Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya had said in early December that after the start of "grand temples in Ayodhya and Kashi, Mathura is also ready." After this, all political parties, including the SP, attacked the BJP on the Hindutva agenda and accused it of polarisation.

Later Akhilesh Yadav tried to give it a twist and said that Lord Krishna comes every day in his dream and says that the Samajwadi Party government will be formed in 2022.

BJP spokesperson Harishchandra Srivastava said, "Western UP is a big belt of sugarcane farmers for whom the Yogi government has paid Rs 1.55 lakh crore, which is historic."

The Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) which has allied with the SP has substantial influence in the region. Polling in Uttar Pradesh will be held in seven phases beginning February 10.

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